Will Hernandez - University of Texas-El Paso
If Hernandez was not such a great blocker, he could be the WWE’s heavyweight champion. Let’s just say for comparison sake that he is the gridiron’s version of Braun Strowman - a beast among men. Don’t believe that claim? Well, recent evidence is his performance at the Combine weight room — 37 reps. Another is the fact that he has never appeared in a game he did not start (49), averaging 10.33 knockdowns per game during his career - the only active NCAA Football Bowl Championship Division blocker to stake claim to a double-digit pancake average, making him a potentially great spokesman for the IHOP restaurant chain.
The 2017 Season...The three-time first-team All-American selection by The NFL Draft Report added second-team national accolades from the Associated Press and CBS Sports, in addition to earning All-Conference USA first team honors. Hernandez graded 90.18% for blocking consistency, as he did not allow any sacks for the second-straight year while posting 13 touchdown-resulting blocks and 120 knockdowns.
Body Structure...Hernandez has a very powerful upper body with long, thick limbs, big back, good waist and well-proportioned thighs and calves. He possesses a thick lower body frame with wide hips, good bubble, thigh thighs and a squat build that can carry at least another fifteen pounds without any loss in quickness. He has good arm length you look for in making reach blocks and comes off the ball with good leg drive and hand punch to shock and jolt. He generates good hip rotation when redirecting on the move and knows how to use his size to get leverage on the defender.
Athletic Ability... Hernandez has outstanding power for a player his size. He shows good athletic agility getting out in front on sweeps and pulls and is very flexible when redirecting. He shows good knee bend and adequate quickness for a trap blocker and runs with a normal stride working into the second level. He demonstrates the fluid change of direction skills and proper weight distribution in space and has good body quickness in his kick slide. He also shows the foot agility, balance and body control to get out and stalk second level defenders. He maintains good balance on drive blocks and is quick enough when running long distances. In the short area, he shows good balance and a fluid running stride. He is quick in his retreat setting up in pass protection and has the functional overall flexibility to get back into the action on the move, taking proper angles to neutralize linebackers. He plays flat-footed with his hands properly inside his frame to gain leverage.
Football Sense...Hernandez plays with very good field awareness and vision. He shows valid instincts and the ability to adjust on the move to different schemes and needs just normal reps to retain plays. He understands all blocking schemes and options and is smart enough to be used in making calls up front. He has a good knowledge of the games, studies tapes and is well-prepared for his upcoming opponent. He has no problems digesting a complicated playbook or taking those plays from the chalkboard to the playing field. He makes good adjustments during game action and works well in unison with his other line mates.
Initial Quickness ... Hernandez has good initial quickness to gain advantage, as he plays with a low pad level and shows good balance with his first step, generating suddenness and body quickness to leverage. He has the loose hips to make adjustments in space, but it is his pad level and hand punch that usually sees him gain instant advantage on a lethargic defender. He comes out of his stance with a wide anchor, good body control and keeps his hands inside his framework. He is best when used on short pulls, as his timed speed is just adequate when going long distances, though. He demonstrates good balance in his retreat setting up in pass protection. He gets off the ball with good urgency and pad level, and has the quickness to gain position off the snap and is very alert to movement, showing the nimble feet to redirect in the short area. He shows good snap quickness in the shot gun and knows how to get into position to sustain defenders. He has the explosion and arm reach to consistently establish him self getting into his reach blocks and in maintaining position.
Lateral Movement...Hernandez is quite effective getting in front on short pulls and traps. His initial quickness on the pull lets him land on targets when working in close quarters. He takes good angles in space and makes proper adjustment moving into the second level. He is very balanced utilizing his kick slide and when doing so he stays square while showing the ability to redirect. It is rare to see him revert to waist bending, as he shows good ability to flip his hips, sink his pads and flow with the play. He shows good agility in his kick slide and moves from side to side with good flexibility. The thing you see on game films (see 2017 Rice, Texas-San Antonio, Western Kentucky games) is his ability to execute the mini-pulls and traps with ease of movement.
Balance/Stays On Feet...Hernandez shows good cover-up ability on the move, consistently finishing once engaged with the defender. He has those good, long arms to leverage and control and excels when trying to reach and hold his position or when rerouting his opponent. In the past, he would sometimes bend at the waist, and it would lead to him over-extending on reach blocks. But during his last two seasons, he has learned to compensate, showing better patience to let the defenders come to him rather than lunge at his opponent. He has a strong anchor and base to maintain position and has shown very good hand placement in his quest to defeat counter moves. He comes off the snap with good explosion and does a nice job of keeping his feet and staying in control when on the move. He has good body control in his attempts to sustain and when he keeps his pads down, he does a great job of getting under defenders to leverage them during the running game.
Explosion/Pop... Hernandez might generate great initial explosion, but he is much more effective on the short pulls than when running long distances (lack of great timed speed). He gets a strong initial surge on contact and is a classic mauler with a brutal hand punch to shock and jolt. He is especially effective helping out his center and is a dominating drive blocker at this level who combines strength and mass to sustain as an in-line blocker. His impressive upper body power lets him consistently shock defenders. When he sinks and rolls his hips, his explosion in the short area is excellent. He generates a strong punch in pass protection and maintains balance while showing he is quick to recover vs. speedy edge moves.
Run Blocking...Hernandez shows the loose hips and strong hand strike on contact to dominate the defender. He is a very good screen-&-wall off type who works hard to finish. He can punish his man when hitting and driving off his initial step and is a fine road grader who can drop his weight and drive through his blocks, thanks to above average leg strength. He is very good at using his hands to lock on (see 2017 Rice, Army, Texas-San Antonio, Louisiana Tech games) and has a keen understanding for positioning. He has very good balance on the move, which is evident by his ability to land on second level defenders. He will struggle with balance when he gets his base too narrow, but that is rare to happen. He displays good consistency in attempts to seal and wall off while working in unison with his center, showing good ease-of-movement playing in space. When he gets position on a defender, he knows how to use his mass and hand punch to shock and jolt. He is also especially effective at gaining movement when he has an angle on people and works hard to maintain position and get movement at the point of attack.
Pass Blocking...Having allowed just one quarterback sack in his last three years, Hernandez has done well in protecting his quarterback. He was a key factor in the team leading the conference and ranking in the top ten nationally for fewest sacks allowed, doing so both in 2015 and 2016. He plays flat-footed and generates a strong anchor and power base. He uses his hands well to catch the defender and is quick to recover vs. counter moves. He has very good short area kick slide and hand usage, showing proper knee bend to quickly redirect. He is equally effective when anchoring and locking out vs. power as he is when sliding and adjusting to quickness. He uses his hands well to set and hold off on contact and has more than enough strength to anchor (his strong anchor and quick hands could see a team experiment with his as a center).
Pulling/Trapping ...Hernandez demonstrates good cover-up ability. He is a strong finisher once he engages a defender and does a good job of playing on his feet. He seems to be more comfortable blocking in tight quarters or on short pulls than when going long distances, as he does not have great sustained speed, though. He does show good balance and body control to take good angles in attempts to neutralize second level defenders. He has the loose hips to turn and get back into the action when playing in space. He can do a nice job of adjusting to movement and generally finds his targets, but is best when used on short traps and pulls than long ones. He also has improved his body control on the cutback. When he plays with his knees bent and over his feet, he is very consistent keeping his balance on the move.
Adjust on Linebacker Downfield...Hernandez has good chip and land ability. He can get up on second level defenders, doing a nice job of gaining position. His field vision and instincts allow him to anticipate where the linebacker will be and he will not hesitate to go down field to land on targets. He is a patient blocker in the second level with a good concept for taking angles to the line-backers. He has good balance executing an open field block and is consistent getting out in front on short screens. The thing you see on film (see 2017 Rice, Arizona, Army, Texas-San Antonio games) is his ability to hustle and look up defenders down field, even though he lacks blazing speed to travel long distances.
Use of Hands/Punch...Hernandez demonstrates very good hand usage and a strong punch. He uses his long arms well to lock on and control. He maintains proper hand position and is very good at extending them while maintaining inside position. He is physical and strong with his punch extension and has good lock-out ability, as he is quick to replace his hands. He has been very effective at generating force and pop behind his hits to jolt the opponent. He knows how to use his hands to grab and gain control. He also has improved his hand quickness, as he works hard to get a piece of his opponent’s jersey to lock on and control.
Reactions/Awareness... Hernandez is very alert to picking up stunts and twists. He shows good patience waiting for plays to develop and is very reacts quickly to switching on stunts or picking up blitzes. He is better at locating and neutralizing interior blitzes, but even though he does not have great speed to run long distances, he is quick enough in the short area to isolate speed rushers. He has decent foot speed to mirror when working in-line by staying square to recover. He is good adjusting when changing direction, doing a better job the last two years in attempts to keep his weight back and stay under control to slide, shuffle and adjust his feet to movement.
Compares To...Russ Grimm-ex-Washington Redskins.
Blue chip(ped) prospect — Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Category Explanation...The scouts are very intrigued with what the collegiate tackle has to offer, especially when he impressed them in one-on-one drills as a guard during Senior Bowl practices. Some teams also feel his hand quickness and field smarts could see him be a Mike Pouncey-like center at the NFL It was at the practices in Mobile where Wynn suffered a labrum tear in his left shoulder that required surgery a week later, thus preventing from further increasing his draft stock at the NFL Scouting Combine or during Georgia’s pro day. If his medical re-check shows that he will be ready for training camp, Wynn could be the third guard selected in the draft before any draft eligible offensive tackle.
Almost all the scouts in attendance in Mobile, Alabama for Senior Bowl practices claim that Wynn was the best performer at the guard position prior to tearing the labrum in his left shoulder. Teams will await the outcome from the league’s mid-April medical re-check on those that were injured during the February NFL Scouting Combine session. If the doctors find that his shoulder is intact, he could join Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson and Will Hernandez of Texas-El Paso as first-round selections that could be off the board before any college offensive tackle is chosen.
Body Structure...Wynn is an impressive athlete with good chest muscles, a solid upper body build and a frame that can carry at least another fifteen pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness. He has well-developed arms and strong, yet smaller than ideal hands to shock and jolt on contact. He has a good bubble, wide hips, good thigh thickness, knotted calves, thick ankles and broad shoulders.
Athletic Ability...Wynn has very good change of direction quickness for a player his size, moving well into the second level, thanks to above average balance, quick feet and fluid hip snap, along with proper knee bend. He demonstrates an explosive initial step coming off the ball. He has the ability to attain acceleration quickly on the move and is one of the fastest pulling guards in the draft, boasting a 4.96 clocking in the 40-yard dash. He runs well laterally, doing a nice job when trying to redirect and is consistent at keeping his pads down in order to maintain position. He shows good body control working in space and has shown the kick slide protecting the pocket, along with very quick hands and a strong punch that could see him shift to center at the next level (reminds some of the Eagles’ Jason Kelce for his hand speed and placement). He gets out in front quickly on sweeps and pulls. When he keeps his pad level down, he can leverage, redirect and shift his weight properly in his kick slide. It is rare to see him over-extend in pass protection and he has the straight-line speed and hand punch to neutralize second level defenders. He is a power-oriented drive blocker with a powerful punch. He will sometimes fall off blocks late when he fails to bend at the knees, but has the body control to recover.
Football Sense... Wynn is very quick at digesting the playbook, having played three trench positions (both guard spots, in addition to left tackle, with additional time as a blocking tight end) during his career, showing no drop-off in his production wherever the coaches place him. He is a good student of the game, putting forth the extra hours to study game film and examine tendencies of his opponents. On the field, he is an instinctive player who has the field savvy to set protection assignments and makes good adjustments on the move. He has no problems taking plays from the chalk-board to the playing field. He excels at recognizing and defeating the blitz (see 2017 Mississippi State, Tennessee, Missouri and Florida games) and shows good alertness sliding back or pass blocking in space. He is very alert to defensive schemes, easily picking up twists and can switch off smoothly when working in unison with his center vs. stunts. He is a technique-oriented athlete and it is rare to see him caught out of position. With his knowledge of blocking assignments and defensive schemes, he could also do a capable job of making blocking calls and possibly perform at center, a position our staff feels could see him turn into an All-Pro one day.
Initial Quickness ...Wynn shows good suddenness and quickness off the snap, possessing the best speed of any guard eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft. He shows very good balance when trying to accelerate into the second level and his explosiveness off the ball allows him to gain advantage and make reach blocks consistently. He flashes very good knee bend, but sometimes his feet are quicker than his body and he needs to stay in better control. He does demonstrate a quick kick slide to get back and assist with the edge rushers. He has good explosion off the snap and a punishing hand punch to generate pop on contact. He is quick to gain position and shows good urgency taking proper angles to locate and neutralize second level defenders. With his quick first step, he strikes with good suddenness. It is rare to see him late off the ball and he works hard to control and sustain. Coming out of his stance, he keeps his head on a swivel and is alert to stunts (see 2017 Samford, Auburn-regular season and Kentucky games). He can keep his hips open and his pad level down, allowing him to dominate and neutralize vs. stunts and blitzes.
Lateral Movement...Wynn displays very good athletic agility working to the perimeter. He looks natural and fluid making adjustments on the move and can locate and land consistently operating in the second level. When Wynn stays squat, he generates quick lateral movement and has the functional change of direction agility to redirect. He has very good knee bend, but he sometimes bent at the waist, causing him to struggle some bringing his feet. However, he has enough lateral kick slide to get back and protect the pocket.
Balance/Stays On Feet...Wynn demonstrates very good balance and foot quickness to stay after the quicker edge rushers helping out his left tackle in pass protection. He consistently finishes his blocks and is very effective using his hands to grab and hold without getting caught by the refs. When he fails to sink his hips, he will overextend a bit, but is quick to recoil and get back on his assignment. He has shown very good improvement with his balance (see downfield blocks in the 2017 Mississippi State, Missouri and Florida games). He is not the type that will get too narrow in his base or straight-legged. His strength prevents bull rushers from pushing him back into the pocket from the point of attack. Even though he needs to add at least 25 pounds to his frame prior to entering the NFL, he seems to have developed better flexibility and improved knee bend playing at 300-305 pounds. He stays low in his stance and keeps his base wide enough to rarely ever have problems sustaining.
Explosion/Pop...Wynn generates excellent pop on contact. He is much more than a push-&-shove type, as he shows excellent hand placement and is very active, yet still keeps his hands inside his frame, preventing defenders from getting a piece of his jersey in their attempts to drag or jerk him to the ground. His leg drive and explosion off the snap lets him create immediate movement. With his hand punch, he is capable of delivering good, sudden force application with impact to pop and surge. When Wynn locks on to an opponent, the battle is generally over quickly (see 2017 Tennessee, Florida, Georgia Tech games). He has a strong hand punch to shock and jolt on contact, coming off the snap with very good explosion, especially when working in the short area. He has the functional hip rotation to get a good surge off the snap when attempting to surprise a lethargic defensive lineman. He is quick to get his hands up and push the defender off the line to maintain the rush lane and flashes the upper body power to move people out. The thing I like is the way he consistently helps out his left guard when working inside and doing it in unison with the blocking tight end when working the edge.
Run Blocking...Wynn has the ability to roll his hips and hit on the rise with explosion, when he keeps his pads down. He can quickly accelerate his feet and works hard to finish. He plays with very good intensity and effort and is a dominant flat-back drive blocker who gets excellent movement at the point of attack. When he gets a fit, he keeps it until the whistle. He is a solid mauler with some road grader to him, as he does a nice job when driving the man off the ball due to his lower body strength and hand punch. He is consistent using his hands to lock on and steer and understands positioning very well, excelling at neutralizing second level defenders. When he moves his feet on contact, he does a better job of wheeling his hips in attempts to control. He has the quickness to make reach blocks and knows how to use his size and power to create space and finish blocks. When he gets too narrow in his stance, he will lose his base at the X’s. In 2017 at left tackle, he did a much better at walling off and screening his man from the play. He shows great pop on contact and is learning to keep his base wider in order to prevent the defender from shedding.
Pass Blocking...Wynn has greatly improved his lateral kick slide. He has the feet and balance, along with impressive body flexibility to anchor. He uses his hands well to prevent the speedy pass rushers from “out-quicking” him when working on the edge. He is very alert, doing a nice job of picking up the late stunt. He has the foot speed to get back and defeat edge rushers and even though he bends at the waist at times, he has the balance to adjust on the move. In the past, he would sometimes play on his toes and drop his head at the X’s (see 2016 Mississippi and Vanderbilt games), but after shifting to left tackle in 2017, he now keeps his base wider and with his foot quickness, he has no trouble mirroring the opponent. With his punch and anchor skills, he simply mauls his opponent once he gets into the defender’s jersey. He does a good job of extending his arms and sliding his feet to maintain protection on the pocket. When he gets too high in his stance, he can be walked back, but has the leg drive to regain his anchor and hold ground. He is an aggressive cut blocker when working in space and has the short area slide to beat his man on stunts. With his hip snap, he does a nice job of locking out vs. the power rush.
Pulling/Trapping ...Wynn displays nice balance and quick feet to get out in front on sweeps. He generates good pop on contact working in space and has the change of direction skills and improved flexibility to mirror. He is quick getting out of his stance and hits his targets well, whether when on the move or stationary. He can kick out or seal effectively. When Wynn plays on his feet, he can simply dominate and control the action working into the second level. He sometimes lunges when he gets too high in his stance, but will generally hit his target with good force. He does a good job of adjusting on the move and shows the vision and ability to make contact. With his body quickness coming out of the gate, he has that rare ability to hit anything in his path when on the move. The thing you see on film is that he is a classic contact seeker who will land on his target with violence at the X’s.
Adjust on Linebacker Downfield...Wynn has the speed and hand placement, along with a good concept for angling when adjusting to linebackers in the second level. He can wheel quickly, thanks to good change of direction agility. On second level chips and cut-offs, he has more than enough quickness to chase down the speedy defenders. He has become more aware of keeping his pads lower in order to not slip off blocks in the second level. He has the balance to adjust to movement when working in space and takes good angles in pursuit. When he uses his change of direction agility to redirect, he can track and land with force. He is good at getting into position before making contact and is alert to taking smart angles on the move.
Use of Hands/Punch... Wynn uses his hands very well attaining proper placement and has the upper body strength to generate good force behind his hand punch. He can out-muscle most defenders, but has also become very efficient in attempts to lock on and control his man. His strong hand punch lets him gain separation and he uses his big wingspan well to get extension, keeping it with his good foot balance and lower body strength. He extends his hands well and is very physical with his hand usage. He can punch and replace with good lockout ability and his powerful punch lets him neutralize the bull rush, demonstrating good hand placement in his initial contact off the snap. With that hand placement, he is consistent in attempts to grab and control. He has that rare recoil-&-recovery quickness and powerful short punch to consistently de-cleat his man.
Reactions/Awareness...Wynn has explosive kick slide and enough foot speed to explode with his second move. He gets very good body position and demonstrates above average balance on the move. His quick kick in his lateral slide and ability to play flat-footed allows him to cut down the edge rushers. He is very effective at positioning and mirroring vs. combo moves and has the ability to shuffle his feet with fluidness. His balance lets him redirect to sustain blocks, but he is also consistent when playing in a phone booth. He shows good patience rather than overextending on stunts and twists and is quick to see the plays develop.
Compares To...Randall McDaniel-ex-Minnesota Vikings/Jason Kelce-Philadelphia Eagles...McDaniel is a name I have not dusted off in a long time, but as a potential NFL guard, you can see that Wynn is very fluid when having to move laterally and he does a very good job of keeping his feet on traps and pulls - much like McDaniels. If he is moved to center at the next level, it is his initial quickness that will capture your attention, along with the way he elevates with power behind his punch while constantly moving his feet upon contact.